Oh boy … my surgery went great. I’m feeling great. Everything is great.
I got the call Monday. “We have a space for surgery. Want to do it TOMORROW?” Eeeeep!!!
I said yes and Gerry and I went into panic mode. We ran to the grocery store and stocked up on gingerale, food for the week and anything that would make Gerry’s life easier when I was convalescing.
We woke up at 5:30am so we could be at the hospital for 7am. I could not sleep. I felt all excited in side like I was going to Disneyland or it was Xmas morning.
I know it might seem weird to some of you that I was excited about having surgery to remove my breast … but I’ve lived as a 1 breasted cyclops for almost 3 years and I have never “gotten used to it” or found a way to be comfortable in my body since my initial mastectomy back in 2013.
I’ve tried every prosthetic ever made from the $13 insert to a $450 breast prosthetic. I’ve tried special $80 tank tops and I’ve tried just uni-boobing it with a Lulu bra. I’ve tried no bra (that’s a weird feeling). Everything and nothing made me comfortable and I knew deep in my gut that I needed to be symmetrical.
These are the things I brought to the hospital:
- A top that was easy to “step into” rather then pull over top of my head -Pants that were easy to pull up.
- Shoes that were slip-on
- A hat – so I would feel cool and not have to worry about my hair
- Something for comfort. I brought my “baby” which is a baby blanket my best-bestie sent me for xmas. I’ve had many different baby-blankets in my 47 years (and I have no shame about it) but this one is the best. I was coveting my friends sons blanket when I was visiting her in Toronto and so she sent me one for the holiday. It’s a swaddling blanket by Petit Pehr and it’s the first thing I asked Gerry for when I woke up. I wrapped it around my head and fell asleep.
- A small bottle of unscented hand cream. Hospitals make my skin dry …
- A small picnic bag full of essentials: bottle of green smoothie (banana, spinach, protein powder, flax, coconut water). A protein bar, a couple of pieces of chocolate, my own personal stash of ginger-ale.
- A good attitude. Smile and say thank you to everyone who takes care of you. Especially the nurse you puke on twice.
We checked in. They set me up in my bed and then we waited. SO MUCH WAITING!! I think that’s what makes it so nerve wracking. There’s so much time to think. Poor Gerry had the worst of it – I get to sleep for a few hours – he gets to worry for a few hours.
Always remember that the partner that is awake is the one who needs the most support!
They wheeled me away and Gerry and I said our “see ya laters”. We have this cute thing we do when we say good-bye. We do it every day and as Gerry went around the corner I thought he forgot to do it. He didn’t. He popped his head back around the corner and did it and I started crying. I love him.
They wheeled me into the waiting area. This was the same operating area where I had my port installed back in 2013 so I recognized where I was. I had a nice conversation with the man beside me. We talked about how hungry we were (no food after midnight) and he told me about how he grew up in Amsterdam during the war and they had no food.
He said even though they had no food they talked about food all the time. He said “Isn’t that silly? You’d think we would try to avoid talking about food.” I asked him if he had rations but he said nothing. Then he slapped his hands together to impress upon me how little they had. “Nothing!” SLAP. “We had absolutely no food. I ate a rock once. We did have the soup kitchen where we could eat once a day. It was broth with a small piece of potato in it. That’s it…”
He was lovely … it was interesting to hear about his history and then they whisked him off to his surgery.
I knew I had a few more minutes so I decided to talk to my body like I did last time I had surgery. I held my left breast in my hand and I said:
You’re so cute. Like seriously. So super super cute. With your little nipple and your perky under boob. I love you. You’ve been such a source of pleasure for so many years. I’m going to miss you.
But listen friend. It’s time to go. The right side was not healthy and left in a hurry and now it’s time for you to go. It’s not so much you but more about me. You don’t work on your own. You’re a package deal … and without your right friend – you just don’t work for me anymore. This part of my life with breasts is over and I’m ok with that. I love you breast but you’ve got to go – today we say good bye.”
Then I looked around to make sure I was alone and I gave my nipple a little pinch so I could remember what it feels like. Owch!!
When they wheeled me into the operating room I was ready. I said hi to all the nurses. I reminded them that I wanted to be flat. I wasn’t doing reconstruction but instead deconstruction and I wanted to be flat.
I also reminded my surgeon about wanting to be flat as well. As I drifted off to sleep I said “Remember. I want to be flatty flat flat flat.” I thought it was hilarious and when I woke up from surgery I was laughing. Weird.
My surgery was just day surgery (kind of crazy huh?) so I got to go home in the afternoon. Gerry was helping me get dressed and he pulled up my tanktop and he said “You look beautiful Sarah. You look just like you should.”
Gosh … he’s amazing isn’t he?? Gerry is my hero. He has been with me for every doctors appointment, every surgery, every panic attack. I’m so lucky to be married to my best friend.
Recovery has been ok. There isn’t a lot of pain with the surgery if you can believe it … the most uncomfortable part is the drain which I was lucky to have to removed a week after my surgery. The drain makes me feel claustrophobic so as soon as it was removed I felt like a million bucks.
Yesterday was 8 days post surgery and my first day out and about without my breasts. Who needs big boobs when you can wear big earrings??
I’m trying to think of a good hashtag. I want to empower other BC survivors to not hide their mastectomies behind scarfs and ruffles but instead be proud of the choices they made to survive cancer.
This final surgery of mine inspired me to stop chasing after my teenage body and I have decided to finally (after many years of body dysmorphia) to embrace and love this body of mine and to dress to impress!!!
My body has been to war and back… And I love myself today. Exactly as it is. Every scarred up inch of it. Any ideas for a good hashtag? Post below!! #flatfashion #flatshion #flatastic #flatbulous #flatisthenewblack #noboobsnoproblem #effyourboobystandards #55378008 #asiam
Day 2 of #breastlessness and I am going through my closet.
I have so many cool dresses that I never wore as a uni-boob because I found wearing a prosthetic so uncomfortable. It’s so nice to slip something on and feel symmetrical.
My friend Kimmee came to visit me when I was convalescing and she said “You have your sparkle back!“
I have to agree … being symmetrical again makes me feel so good.
“I’m happy. Hope you’re happy too…”